Couple flees Minneapolis as crime turns neighborhood they once loved into ‘third-world country’

"Ever since the riots and the pandemic, it’s just gone downhill like there's no tomorrow," said Jeff Mammenga, who has slashed $100,000 off the asking price of his home in the more than six months it's been on the market.

Jeff Mammenga and Jon Loidolt shared their story with Alpha News reporter Liz Collin. (Alpha News)

It’s not often a mid-morning interview starts with such a stern warning.

“Didn’t you tell her to be careful?” Jon Loidolt asked.

But at 29th and Lake in Minneapolis, outside an old Victorian home that Jeff Mammenga has meticulously cared for and owned for nearly two decades, we found a side of the city you won’t see on the news.

“Yes, watch your back,” Mammenga remarked to Alpha News.

Loidolt described how they were drawn to the area back then.

“We loved it at first. We loved the neighbors. But it has changed so much. We don’t feel any public safety and that should be our basic civil right, but we don’t have that,” Loidolt said.

The home sits less than two miles from the former Third Precinct that was surrendered to the mob and just steps away from their own neighborhood destruction.

“That was the gas station that burned down,” Mammenga said, pointing to what used to be a Shell gas station.

More than three years later, the scars run deep.

“We experienced so much anxiety it’s not even funny. We were told we wouldn’t have police, we wouldn’t have fire, we wouldn’t have any assistance when Lake Street burned down,” Loidolt said.

“They sent us a text to evacuate,” Mammenga chimed in.

“Ever since the riots and the pandemic, it’s just gone downhill like there’s no tomorrow,” he added.

A bullet hole in the window is a subtle reminder of what the couple calls an open-air drug market that has taken over their block.

“To be honest they s– in our backyard, needles are everywhere, prostitution happens. People sit on our porch like it’s their house and they OD and we call 911 all the time,” Loidolt said.

“It’s almost once a week,” Mammenga explained.

“It’s insane.”

They recently dealt with a woman they saw smoking heroin on a front step.

Jeff Mammenga and Jon Loidolt said there are “needles everywhere” in their neighborhood. (Photo provided to Alpha News)

“She just went and tipped over. I called 911 and I’m like this woman needs help. She needs that safety committee or whatever. They have no number to call. She woke up and she did it again,” Mammenga said.

It was in November when Mammenga said he went outside to pick up his litter-filled front lawn.

“I’m like, ‘Can you guys move the party down the block just a little bit for maybe like a half hour?’ I’m not rude. They’re not rude to me. I’m down picking up garbage and I see these white tennis shoes coming towards me, I started to get upright and boom, he pops me. My glasses go flying and they end up in their yard … Now, he’s kicking and stomping on me,” Mammenga recalled.

“We think he had a broken eye socket, cheekbone. We were like, ‘What’s the point?’ Police came over, they were amazing. But we knew nothing would come of it,” Loidolt said.

Mammenga was assaulted in November but he said he knew nothing would come of it. (Photo provided to Alpha News)

“Nobody will dial 911 because they know nothing is going to happen … it’s not the police, they’re not the issue. The issue is the system and our socialist tree huggers that live here,” Mammenga added.

When asked if they voted for any of this, both men said absolutely not.

“Jason Chavez, didn’t vote for him. [Jacob] Frey, didn’t vote for him. Bloody Mary (Mary Moriarty), as I call her, no, I did not vote for her,” Loidolt said.

“Oh, the city is so vibrant, and crime is down, this is amazing,” he joked.

“That’s why we’re moving. I dropped the price last night. I have anxiety coming here,” Mammenga said.

He’s slashed the asking price by more than $100,000 in the more than six months the home’s been on the market.

Jeff Mammenga and Jon Loidolt talk with Alpha News reporter Liz Collin. (Alpha News)

“The whole house has been re-insulated. It’s all been re-sheet rocked and the floors have all been redone. There’s seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and three kitchens. They’re all hardwood cabinets, granite counters, marble floors,” Mammenga said.

“This is seven rental rooms gone now and the city wants affordable housing? No support. No support,” he added.

“It’s a third-world country and it’s created by 14, 15 people, which is sad,” Loidolt said.

They’ll be starting over elsewhere, while warning anyone else who cares to listen.

We asked if they see any light at the end of the tunnel.

“Oh, no. There’s no end to the tunnel,” Mammenga said. “The tunnel is brick shut.”

“It’s darkness. There’s no light,” Loidolt commented. “The basic right of public safety is not here in Minneapolis anymore.”


Liz Collin

Liz Collin has been a truth-teller for 20 years as a multi-Emmy-Award-winning reporter and anchor. Liz is a Worthington, Minnesota native who lives in the suburbs with her husband, son and loyal lab.